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Small Farm Horse Pasture 1 – this is how we do it…

Di Snow - Horse Naturopathy and Pasture Management

Do you have a small horse property and want to get some suitable pasture started?

In this 3-part series, we’ll share our horse pasture journey, including two videos of how we go about aerating and seeding, plus a bit of a step-by-step of how we do it on a small scale…

Our small horse property is located near Albury NSW on very flat ground. It’s not quite 4 hectares (just under 10 acres) in size, divided into 8 paddocks, plus a house yard and grass/sand arena, which also doubles as the sick-bay and emergency assembly area in the bushfire season. It has carried 5 horses in the past, but now only our 2 beautiful pleasure horse companions.

As our horses are both pretty ‘good-doers’, we were wanting to get rid of the ryegrass and clovers (as much as possible, if that is even possible) and establish a more horse-suitable, lower-sugar pasture. Much to our dislike, we did initially spray-out the ryegrass and clover, but now that they have diminished, we try to out-plant it to keep it to a minimum, rather than use chemicals unnecessarily.

In the early days, we did attempt seeking the help of contractors to get our new horse pasture underway, but it seems we are too small to be of interest. And so, we set about doing what we could for ourselves, which was initially pretty ‘rustic’ to say the least.

After correcting the soil pH, we firstly experimented with a native pasture blend, consisting of Wallaby, Wheatgrass, Weeping and Windmill grasses. They established well, but did not seem very resilient to horse grazing. But, maybe we didn’t manage this well enough? There is a little wallaby grass still surviving in some patches, which we tend to leave alone as much as possible to see if it will get a go-on…

Later we tried the Specialty Seeds low-sugar horse blend, which for our southern location, consisted of Timothy, Brome, Cocksfoot, Browntop and Kentucky Bluegrass. This worked a treat, even despite our crude sowing methods!

You see in those days, we didn’t have any farming equipment, so we set up the old HiLux to tow a sheet of reinforcing mesh around. I drove it around the paddocks while my partner sat on the tailgate on a very comfy cushion and cast out the seed like he was feeding the chooks.

I remember our neighbour who is a ‘real farmer’ almost falling out of his big green tractor when he saw what we were doing – anyway – it worked pretty well and we made someone laugh, so not a bad effort!

In the next blog, we’ll explain how we go about Soil Preparation and Aeration.